Think Tanks for Sale

Primary sources exposed and explained.
March 28 2006 2:48 PM

Think Tanks for Sale

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We begin with a portion of an e-mail written by Dennis Stephens, a former aide to Rep. Dick Armey, R.-Texas. Stephens worked for Jack Abramoff at the Washington, D.C., office of Preston Gates Ellis, a Seattle-based law firm.The recipient of the e-mail from which this snippet was lifted is Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank in Washington.

In the e-mail, Stephens is congratulating Ridenour for writing and placing in several newspapers an op-ed  praising to the skies a Black History Month exhibit assembled by Pitney-Bowes, a topic that even most African Americans would likely find weirdly parochial. Pitney-Bowes was a lobbying client  of Abramoff's. Stephens wants to tell Pitney-Bowes how many newspapers the op-ed appeared in, so he's asking Ridenour.

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Stephens' snippet is undated because Ridenour forwarded it to Abramoff. (To keep things simple, I arranged the e-mails in the order in which they were written rather than leave them in the reverse order in which e-mail conversations appear on the screen.) In all likelihood, Stephens wrote this e-mail on March 1, 1999; that's when much of the rest of the e-mail conversation that follows took place.

For explanation and commentary, roll your mouse over the yellow highlighted area.

A puff piece about Pitney-Bowes' Black History Month exhibit.
Pitney-Bowes is headquartered in Stamford, CT.
Pitney-Bowes.